Copyright © 2015 by Academic Publishing House Researcher
Published in the Russian Federation
European Journal of Economic StudiesHas been issued since 2012.
ISSN: 2304-9669 E-ISSN: 2305-6282
Vol. 11, Is. 1, pp. 45-53, 2015
Additional Services as a Factor in the More Complete Satisfaction of Client Needs
Irina N. Markaryan
Russian State Social University–Sochi, Russian Federation 151-A Plastunskaya St., Sochi, 354000
PhD, Associate Professor Email: 2703_ email@example.com
The correlation between price and quality plays a major role in the development of the hospitality industry and the more complete satisfaction of client needs. It is for this reason that over the last decade various types of lodging facilities have been actively engaged in developing sports/health services.
For this purpose, there are built new and renovated existing spas and fitness centers, sports and sports/health improvement clubs.
Depending on the financial capacity and motivation of both the guests and owners (managers) of lodging facilities, they can be located within the hotel itself, on adjacent grounds within a separate building, or on the premises of sports and beach facilities.
This type of services plays a major role in generating additional profit, as a broad spectrum of sports/health services also includes a powerful rental framework, highly qualified instructors, new types and forms of working with guests.
Russia has always been famous for its athletes and its citizens’ aspiration for a healthy lifestyle. There is a Russian proverb that says ―A sound mind in a sound body‖, and this state is what is nurtured by sports/health improvement and spa centers both within sanitarium/resort institutions and hotel-type lodging facilities.
Keywords: quality of services; sports services; health improvement services; healthy lifestyle; lodging facilities; sports/health improvement centers and complexes.
Servicing guests is a part of the overall atmosphere of hospitality, the first step in creating which is taken by the admissions and accommodation department. To make their stay at the lodging facility more comfortable, the hotel is expected to, aside from providing rooms, provide additional services to guests in line with their preferences and the hotel’s comfort level. Such services are an indispensable component of the activity of any hotel.
The following are a must in lodging facilities: a business center, a service bureau, and various transport and fitness services, which create conditions for the successful work, living, and leisure of guests and are a source of additional income for the hotel. The top position in 3-, 4-, and 5-star hotels is held by sports/health improvement, fitness, and spa centers.
Sports/health improvement complexes (centers) (aka hеalth сеntегs, sports сlubs, fitness centers, or health clubs) are, normally, located within large hotels. Guests are offered the following sports and leisure amenities: pools, solariums, pools with hydro-massage, jacuzzis, saunas, gyms, massage services, aerobics, bars, locker rooms, shower rooms, and toilet rooms. A distinctive characteristic of prestigious hotels is the client’s ability to get to the health improvement center right from the living floors using a special elevator .
In foreign countries, wide use has been made of resort hotels that are located by the sea, the ocean, the lake, or the mountains and are, normally, positioned far from the city, have a size of 100-500 rooms, and offer first and luxury class prices. They contain expensive restaurants, banquet halls, rooms for meetings, and sports facilities. They are oriented towards various categories of tourists .
Out-of-town and resort hotels have vast spaces outside the hotel as well. Thus, for instance, the Grand Hotel Zhemchuzhina hotel complex in Sochi, located within a business center on the coast of the Black Sea, offers its guests various sports services on the hotel’s beach grounds and within its green area, has several swimming pools, 7 halls within a business center, provides spa health services, etc.
The JW Marriott Seoul hotel offers its guests squash and golf playgrounds, a hotel, and provides thermal sports/health improvement services through its Marquis Thermal Spa and Fitness Club. It is Asia’s largest center with an area of 495,870 square meters.
The infrastructure of resort hotels depends on the location and number of land plots. Within them there can be open swimming pools, tennis courts, and soccer and golf playgrounds. The choice of services is also impacted by the hotel’s specialization.
The Yubileynyi tourist complex of the Magnitogorsk Metallurgical Combine leases a large area in Bashkiria, where there is a paintball center and bicycle paths, run under the motto ―Dad, Mom, and I – We’re a Sporty Family‖, for simultaneous bike rides by a father, a mother, and a kid or a couple of kids. The rental base provides bicycles for men, ladies, teenagers, and three-wheel children’s bikes. Over 10 families can use the bikes simultaneously. The sanitarium has its own beach grounds equipped with small-sized vessels (powered and unpowered), the entire rigging set for sports ice fishing and skating, as well as its own horse farm and show jumping facility. In addition, on Mount Dozornaya with a height of about 1000 meters there is an alpine skiing complex with trails in any category of complexity.
Most often, hotels provide a similar range of services: a gym, a bathing room/sauna, a solarium, and a pool; they can also carry a beauty parlor, a jacuzzi, and billiards. Of interest is a program developed by the health club of the Balchug Kempinsky Moskva hotel, which offers yoga classes on Wednesdays and Saturdays within a facility that overlooks the Kremlin.
Some hotels have excellent spa centers fitted out with the latest equipment and technology. For instance, the Ritz Carlton hotel offers the ―lifestyle‖ showers operating in two modes: cold ―Ice-Cold Shower‖ and warm ―Warm Rain‖ with a peppermint fragrance and tropical aromas; the National hotel provides the Sharko Showers; the Breeze hotel offers cold tubs and a cold swimming pool.
The size of sports facilities is determined based on the number of rooms. Sports playgrounds at hotels can differ – this depends on the place’s location, grounds, and accessibility and the owners’ financial capacity and attitude towards these services.
Under service standards, it is a must for all Rixos hotels to have sports spaces – a pool and a fitness center. The square area of sports facilities is also impacted by the distinctive characteristics of the country the hotel is located in. Thus, for instance, sports playgrounds in Turkey will be larger in size than those at European hotels.
European hotels offer their clients sports/health improvement services even when there is lack of additional land.
Normally, health improvement services can be primary, included in the cost of stay, additional, and auxiliary. Primary services include a gym and a pool, additional – a sauna, steam rooms, a jacuzzi, and other amenities, depending on the dimensions of the gym, and auxiliary – a locker room, a fitness bar, and a parking lot for cars. Additional services can be paid up front as included in the cost of stay (the sauna, the swimming pool charged by time, and the beach) or can also be purchased right at the hotel – both as a one-time visit and a block of visits paid during the period of service provision.
The range of sports/health improvement services can depend on the hotel’s star rating, brand, location, orientation, the square area it occupies, and its founders.
For instance, the Breeze spa guesthouse and the Valentin hotel in Sochi, as well as the Maxima 3-star hotels, have a gym and fitness/spa centers. Sometimes, service standards even at hotels of the same chain and level can differ: the Maxima Irbis hotel has a Turkish bath, and the Maxima Slavia hotel has a solarium and a Finnish sauna.
Uniform standards are applied when a hotel chain has its own brand.
In exploring the types of sports/health improvement centers at lodging facilities, the author came to the conclusion that these centers are divided into several types: fitness centers at guesthouses and sanitarium-resort institutions, spa centers at 3-, 4-, and 5-star hotels, and health improvement centers (specific types of health improvement services) at virtually all hotels, starting from 2-star ones, and sanitarium-resort complexes.
In Russia, wide use has been made of fitness centers, which came from Europe in the early 90s of the 20th century. Currently, even 3-star hotels have fitness centers, which is a token of courtesy and attracts not only the clients of the hotel but the residents and guests of the destination.
The fitness industry has a good prospect of growth in Russia, which is due to an increase in people’s income, their attention to health culture and interest in leading a healthy lifestyle, as well as an increase in the competitiveness of the national economy.
In Russia there is currently no clear-cut classification of fitness clubs. For this reason, the author is going to use the criteria by RBC (the RosBusinessConsulting information agency) (Table 1).
Table 1: A classification of fitness clubs (based on data by RBC)
By size By target audience By cost By payment system and membership options
By number of services provided giants – over 7000 sq. m; large – between 5000 and 7000 sq. m; medium- sized – between 2000 and 5000 sq. m; small – up to 2000 sq. m
clubs for demanding clients with
considerable financial capacity;
clubs oriented towards a Bohemian or trendy public;
clubs oriented towards the middle class (clubs that offer the entire spectrum of standard services, often with the pool, at mild prices); budget clubs for
unpretentious people or those with limited spending capacity; clubs for students and housewives (located within walking distance);
clubs ―for women only‖
premium class – 80 thousand rubles per year and up;
business class – between 50 and 75 thousand rubles per year; medium class – between 30 and 50 thousand rubles per year; the democratic segment – from 30 thousand rubles per year
a club card for long-term club
membership (half a year, a year);
a daytime club card (for workdays); a weekend club card; family club cards; a monthly or quarterly pass; per-visit charging
a gym with weight machines;
halls for boxing and martial arts;
a hall with cardiovascular machines;
halls for conducting group programs; a children’s room for specialized classes for children;
a sauna, a banya, or a hammam;
The author’s analysis revealed that a club’s prices primarily depend on how elite it is rather than its size. According to data by RBC, many giant clubs operate within the business and medium class segment. Almost all fitness clubs develop and offer corporate programs; corporate club members enjoy significant benefits:
- a company gets a personal fitness manager assigned to it, who keeps track of the employees’ athletic progress and handles organizational issues related to offsite events;
- each company gets the opportunity to purchase corporate membership, and in some cases additional services (e.g., renting multi-function play-rooms or the pool);
- the opportunity to pay the card in full or in part; - individual programs for each employee;
- the club’s hours of operation match the demands of modern, busy people.
Depending on the number of employees, there is a discount calculated for the entire group. Often, the cost of corporate membership is less than 50% of individual membership.
Spa centers. Currently, a good spa parlor is expected to have an area of at least 350 m2; the maximum size depends on the number of rooms at the place and the number of clients from the city. In regional center towns and smaller district towns, where the hotel is regarded by the residents as an important cultural and recreation center, it makes sense for lodging facilities to carry a premium-class club spa center or wellness club, with an area of at least 1,500 m2, which may attract well-off clients who can afford to spend as much as 80,000 rubles per year on spa services.
Demands posed to a spa salon at a hotel and a beauty parlor in the city may differ – they are formed by clients who have experience staying at top-of-the-line hotels around the world.
A hotel that positions itself as a ―spa hotel‖ is expected to have a proper material/technical base and level of service. The existing standard for the center includes: a thermal area for the public, a steam room and a sauna, a pool, a massage room, a leisure area, a mini-bar, rooms for individual spa procedures, family spa procedures, a mini-gym, and a beauty parlor. A spa center is expected to have qualified personnel, a nice room design, hours of operation convenient for the clients, and a number of additional paid services (classic services of a beauty parlor, Hammam/Rasul thalassotherapy rooms, exotic massages, Cleopatra’s baths, a parlor for two, etc.
Spa hotels are hotels with one focus area – specialized spas. Such hotels are not intended for staying with kids or having fun. They are about leading a healthy lifestyle; their restaurants carry on their menus only healthy meals put together by dieticians. The major objective behind such leisure is restoring and revitalizing the body.
Spa centers are centers specializing in a specific focus area: e.g., thalassotherapy, balneotherapy, Ayurveda, etc. Such centers can be both standalone and with the hotel.
Nowadays, there are scores of spa resorts and each tourist can pick an option that suits them based on the objective (prevention and treatment of certain diseases or weight loss) and the price.
When setting out for spa leisure, you are expected to leave all your negative emotions at home and take with you the good mood and the smile. A good spa center will ensure the hotel’s clients total body energy recovery, pleasant relaxation, help them get rid of a few pounds and enjoy a harmonious rest for the body and soul. Such spas combine jogging and aerobics with yoga and tai chi, mud baths with meditation, exercise machines with massage.
There are various types of spas around the world: spa resorts, spa hotels, spa parlors and clubs, and even individual spa rooms and home spas (Table 2).
Spa resorts are natural spas based on mineral and thermal springs (mineral spring spas) – treatment/prevention institutions located in immediate proximity to natural springs (related to balneo-, thalasso-, and hydrotherapy). The major focus area of spa service depends on the character of natural springs.
There is a must condition: there must be a setting that ensures ultimate comfort and the ability to stay at the facility. The character of visiting is up to the client.
Resort hotel spas are spa parlors or centers that are within the structure of a resort (hotel) complex and offer professional spa services.
These facilities serve both the guests of the hotel and walk-in clients. Any form of visiting is accepted (from one-time visits to multi-day programs).
When it comes to spa villages, a good spa village is almost like a complete spa facility – one just needs to adapt functionality for conducting spa procedures.
Target specialized spas (destination spas) are spa structures located on separate grounds and intended for the implementation of target programs, with clients having to stay at the facility throughout the entire period. One-time visits are not allowed.
Most of the spa programs are rehabilitation/health improvement and esthetic.
Club spas are divided into spa centers, spa complexes, and spa clubs. Those are spa parlors and spa complexes located at wellness clubs.
The major type of activity here is fitness, with spa services provided additionally. Spa services are provided regardless of whether one has club membership.
Day spas are urban spa parlors (with an area of 250–500 m2) and spa centers (500–1000 m2) offering various spa services which can be complemented by specific image and cosmetology procedures, typical of a spa parlor specifically, which require the client’s stay to be from several hours to an entire day.
Medical spas are medical institutions or private clinics that provide medical services as primary and spa services as auxiliary, regarded as preparatory before surgeries or procedures, or with a view to speeding up the restoration (rehabilitation) processes during the post-surgery period. A stationary form of service can also be provided.
There is a must condition: the spa’s entire personnel have to work under the guidance of the head physician (Table 2).
Table 2: A classification of spas
Title of spa Profile Main concept
1. spa hotels specialized spas; restoration and
revitalization of the body leading a healthy lifestyle 2. spa resorts specialized resorts; availability of
mineral springs prevention and treatment of specific disorders; weight loss 3. spa centers centers specializing in a specific
area: thalassotherapy, balneology, Ayurveda, etc.
helping to get rid of cellulitis and excess weight; helping create an exterior style, a corresponding image
4. medical spas medical institutions or private clinics; the spa’s entire personnel works under the guidance of the head physician
major services: medical and spa services; auxiliary as preparatory before surgeries or procedures for rehabilitation processes
5. spa clubs located at wellness clubs; the major
type of activity is fitness the core: fitness; spa services provided additionally; spa services provided regardless of having club membership
6. spa leisure combined procedures:
baths/meditation; exercise machines/massage, etc.
recuperation, pleasant relaxation, weight loss
7. spa parlors are within the structure of a resort or
hotel complex offer professional spa services; any form of visiting is allowed 8. spa rooms compact spas spaces within virtually
any complex- or public-use facility installed into a fitness center, a yoga club, a business center, or a shopping complex for conducting spa procedures
9. spa studios compact spa spaces: 40–60 m2 studios and 15–35 m2 rooms for conducting a complete spectrum of spa procedures
10. spa service spa procedures provided right inside
the lodging facility’s suites services brought closer to the client 11. day spas urban (suburban) spas – weekend
parlors services: image and cosmetology procedures; require a stay of several hours to 1–2 days; additional services: a hairdresser’s, alternative medicine, spa food, health fitness, educational programs
12. target specialized spas
located on separate grounds; continuous effect target programs; rehabilitation/health improvement programs
the client’s mandatory long-term stay to implement target programs
13. cruise spas spa centers and spa salons located
on board large liners operate on the same principle as day spas; their distinctive characteristics: changeable personnel; being oriented towards decidedly well-off clients
14. natural spas treatment/prevention institutions on
mineral or thermal waters the main concept depends on the character of natural springs; a setting of increased comfort 15. spa villages spa procedures are provided within
the spa space the guest lives in the adaptation of the person, their functional capabilities to the natural space of the spa village 16. home spas an oasis of quietude and relaxation
inside the house the creation of an inimitable atmosphere of quietude, where one can enjoy listening to one’s inner voice and sensations; a place of rest for the soul and body.
Let us now take a look at health improvement centers. Providing health-improvement services requires a considerable number of health improvement showers, open and covered swimming pools for adults and children, a well-equipped beach, a pier, small boats, bicycle and Terrainkur paths, pedestrian ecology paths, playgrounds and children’s playgrounds.
The center’s infrastructure presupposes the availability of shower rooms, locker rooms, toilets, swimsuit dryers and hairdryers, racks for towels and individual minor service, mini-safes and multi-drawer safes; separate spaces for men and women.
The usual hours of operation are between 7 am and 11 pm without a break. A health improvement center within a top-of-the-line hotel has two or more employees working in any shift. They take a break to rest up and eat lunch, taking turns.
The hotel may have a separate elevator connecting the living floors to the health improvement center.
At the center, the guests use disposable slippers, bathing robes, and personal hygiene items. The space is expected to have proper lighting, a good design, and pleasant music playing. Health improvement centers at top-of-the-line hotels readily follow the practice of using magnetic cards, swiped through the lock on the door, and magnetic key-cards for a personal wardrobe used for changing.
Children of less than 16 years of age can visit a health improvement center only in the company of adults. Visitors are discouraged from being loud and using a cellphone.
Each health improvement center has its own standard of service and rules for the use of the center’s services.
facilities, swimming pools with mineral water, and evening strolls around old parks. Getaway packages available to clients are for short-term health improvement stays 3 to 5 days. Clients have the choice of ordering various showers, commonly shared baths with mineral water, massages, fitness teas, visits to the mineral water buvettes, and diverse ―green tables‖.
Many hotels and tourist complexes carry fitness centers, sports, health improvement, and sports/health improvement centers and clubs.
The diversity of these services depends on the way the centers are fitted out, their sports/health improvement base, and the professional competence of their personnel.
The staff at a sports/health improvement center includes: its manager, administrators, cashiers, security team, instructors, and medical personnel. The work routine is based on the needs of the primary pool of consumers. The health improvement center can provide the following types of sports/health improvement services: thalassotherapy, balneotherapy, aromatherapy, diagnostics, physiotherapy, and phytotherapy .
One of the issues central to the hospitality sphere is that of the quality of services. Requirements for quality are the most crucial factor in assessing any service.
Under GOST R 50764-95, Item 3.4, ―The quality of a service is an aggregate of the service’s characteristics that determine its capacity to meet the client’s established or expected needs‖.
Regulating the quality of services within the hospitality industry gets complicated by the fact that services within the hospitality sphere are an immaterial product, which is impossible to store, transport, or return for repair in the event it fails to meet the consumer’s expectations. The end user receives the service just the way it was produced. It is for this reason that the most common complaints and claims on the part of those who use the hotel product are about the poor delivery of services promised .
In this regard, the indicator of the quality of a hotel service is a cumulative indicator based on all services provided during the client’s stay at the lodging facility.
Each enterprise operating within the hotel industry provides a service, and for each of these services there are indicators that characterize the quality of its delivery. Consequently, a criterion for the quality of a hotel service is a system of indicators of the quality of various services provided within the hospitality industry.
Under GOST R 50690-2000, hospitality services ought to take account of the interests of end users and be safe for their health and life.
In 1994, a decree by the Committee of the Russian Federation for Standardization, Metrology, and Certification (Gosstandart) instituted and brought into force as of January, 1995, A Model for Ensuring the Quality of Services. This standard (GOST R 50691-94) sets out the major requirements for the system of ensuring the quality of services in compliance with the international standards ISO 9004.2 and 9002. The standard is aimed at ensuring the attainment of the proper quality of services provided to consumers.
Under GOST R 50646-94, Item 36, ―The system of the quality of services is an aggregate of an organizational structure, responsibility, procedures, processes, and resources that ensures the administration of the overall management of the quality of services‖.
Today, the quality of services is viewed as a crucial component area of the activity of organizations involved in hotel business.
Ensuring quality is construed as the process of forming a service’s relevant properties and characteristics capable of meeting or anticipating the consumer’s expectations. Therefore, a deciding role in service provision is played by functional quality, i.e. the ability of hotel personnel to ensure, through flawless work, the client’s satisfaction with service provided.
In present day conditions, consumers of health improvement services pose considerable demands on quality and service. Therefore, the enterprise’s profitability directly depends on its ability to satisfy and retain a demanding client, to be able to ensure the enterprise maximum workload. The extent to which a lodging facility is busy is an indicator of the enterprise’s competitiveness in the market of health improvement services.
For any lodging facility, a recipe for the successful operation of the sports/health improvement center is ensuring quality, which directly depends on the effectiveness of the enterprise’s marketing activity.
administration ought to be more instrumental in developing a multi-tier system of enhancing personnel competence. This can be traineeships at the world’s best hotels, incentive tours, on-the-job career enhancement, corporate technical visits to prestigious hotels within cities and regions, workshops, occupational castings, and other activities.
The following principles can be employed in an effort to improve the quality of sports/health improvement services:
the principle of providing the client with an opportunity to enjoy leisure with the family. the principle of making a service worthwhile for the client.
These principles include ―discount‖ policy: discounts, bonuses, thematic parties, special offers, and sweepstakes.
Of no less importance is the image of the sports/health improvement complex, the convenience of its location and hours of operation.
To be able to improve the quality of service at a sports/health improvement center, one needs to take account of numerous factors and characteristics related to the client’s mentality and the destination’s attractiveness to the guests. This can be the center’s location, its primary pool of visitors, the way they are rewarded, the diversity of services it provides, and the professionalism of its instructors and personnel, as well as its competent marketing policy on promoting its health improvement services.
In conducting the study, the author developed a classification of spas inclusive of the profile and major concept of service provision. The author conducted a comparative analysis of recreation, fitness, and spa centers, determined the roster of services provided, the categories of clients, the square areas recommended, and the infrastructure of centers. The construction and creation of sports/health improvement centers will facilitate the future development of the concept of leading a healthy lifestyle and improving the level and quality of services provided within the hospitality industry.
The sphere of health improvement services by sports/health improvement centers within lodging facilities plays a specific role in improving the quality of life and restoring the working capacity of the working part of the country’s population, facilitating a departure from a sedentary lifestyle and fostering a healthy generation.
Services offered to consumers ought to match the spending capacity of the residents of a specific region, the comfort level desired by hotel clients, and the potential of using the destination’s natural factors.
The policy of hospitality enterprises in the area of the quality of sports/health improvement services ought to involve the implementation of objectives aimed at meeting consumer needs in terms of achieving not only the basic quality of hospitality services but the desired and expected quality of services provided.
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